Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley said he's ready to play Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars in his NFL debut after he missed most of the preseason with a hamstring injury.
Barkley, whom the Giants drafted second overall and is already entering the league with Canton-esque expectations, said despite not having played since New York's preseason opener on Aug. 9, he is prepared and healthy enough to make an impact as the Giants look to bounce back from a 3-13 season.
"I definitely think I'm ready for a full load," Barkley said, according to Newsday's Tom Rock. "The way I've been preparing, the way I've been practicing ... I'm excited to go against them and try my best and see what I'm able to do on Sundays."
While Barkley said his hamstring injury is no longer a concern, New York can turn to Wayne Gallman or Jonathan Stewart to prevent the former Penn State running back from being overworked in his season debut. That said, after practicing with the team over the past week, he said he feels ready.
"I wasn't able to play in the preseason but I was able to show my team, my offensive teammates, what I was able to do in practice," he said. "Obviously situations are a little different, but catching the ball out of the backfield, running the ball, being able to showcase my talent, I think I've been doing that. ... I feel I'm in really good physical football shape."
Barkley, who totaled 1,271 rushing yards, 632 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns as a junior with the Nittany Lions last season, has been on the big stage before. He broke out for a 92-yard touchdown in last year's Fiesta Bowl and totaled 249 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns in the Rose Bowl against former USC and current Jets quarterback Sam Darnold.
As far as jitters go as he prepares for his professional debut, Barkley isn't worried.
"That's got to come and go real quick," he said. "Because it's go time."